Fatah calls for protests against US VP Mike Pence's Jerusalem visit

A Palestinian girl dressed in the colours of the national flag with Fatah's emblem is held up during a protest against Donald Trump's Jerusalem move. PHOTO: AFP

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - The Fatah faction of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday (Dec 16) called for demonstrations next week when US Vice-President Mike Pence visits Jerusalem, after Washington's policy shift on the holy city.

Breaking with decades of US policy, President Donald Trump announced on Dec 6 his decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and that he would move the US embassy to the city.

The move has stirred global condemnation and sparked angry protests across Arab and Muslim countries, as well as deadly clashes in the occupied territories between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

It also prompted Abbas to cancel a meeting with Pence, who arrives on Wednesday in Jerusalem, and warn that Washington no longer had a role to play in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Fatah called for a day of "protests" on Wednesday near Jerusalem and the Old City "against the visit of the American vice-president and Trump's decision" to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a statement said.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the most controversial issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel seized control of the eastern part of the city in the 1967 Middle East war and sees the whole of Jerusalem as its undivided capital. The Palestinians view the east as the capital of their future state.

The call to protest came as thousands of Palestinians took part in funerals for two of four men killed Friday in clashes with Israeli forces during protests in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.

Mourners chanted anti-Trump slogans and masked men fired into the air during one of the ceremonies in the village of Beit Ula, located between Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Funerals were also held for the two other Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, where the enclave's Islamist Hamas rulers had on Friday called for a "day of rage".

One of those killed was Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh, a Palestinian who lost his legs in an Israeli attack a decade ago, who, with his wheelchair, was a regular feature at protests along Gaza's border with Israel.

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